Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BMW commits to Megacity EV by 2013

BMW's first all-electric regular series production vehicle, the Megacity EV, has now been set in stone and inserted into the company's roadmap for a commercial launch in 2012 or 2013. The Bavarian automaker has gone official with word that it plans to use its Leipzig assembly plant to produce the car and further notes that it'll feature a similar setup to the ActiveE concept (pictured above), which is set for field testing in 2011.

Essentially a 1 series that feeds off the electric grid rather than the nearest diesel pump, the ActiveE runs off an array of lithium-ion batteries รก la the well liked but recently troubled Tesla Roadster, and will serve as a test mule for refining the underlying technology. Generating up to 170bhp might not sound all that impressive, but it should be more than sufficient for the urban commuters these vehicles will be aimed at. Now we just need Mercedes and Audi to match that release schedule and the electric car should finally have its day in the mainstream sun.

Apple, Android, and RIM winners in 2009 smartphone growth, Nokia and Symbian still dominate

Gartner just released its annual numbers for worldwide mobile phone sales to end users in the year known as two thousand nine. Looking at smartphone OS market share alone, Gartner shows the iPhone OS, Android, and RIM making the biggest gains (up 6.2, 3.4, and 3.3 percentage points from 2008, respectively) at the expense of Windows Mobile (down to 3.1%) and Symbian (down to 5.5%).

Although Gartner says that Symbian "has become uncompetitive in recent years," (ouch) it concedes that market share is still strong especially for Nokia; something backed up by Nokia's Q4 financials and reported quarterly smartphone growth by 5 percentage points. Regarding total handsets of all classifications sold, Nokia continues to dominate with 36.4% of all sales to end users (down from 38.6% in 2008) while Samsung and LG continue to climb at the expense of Motorola (dropping from 7.6% to 4.5% of worldwide sales in 2009) and Sony Ericsson. See that table after the break or hit up the source for the full report.

Explore and Share concept uses super fast from NOKIA

The so-called, Explore and Share concept starts by placing an N900 onto a "writer" that's tethered to a PC at a retail store. At that point, the PC recognizes the handset and serves up a number of options to the purchaser. For the purposes of the demo, an unnamed Finn selects an album that downloads to the handset in less than 10 seconds.

Less than 10 seconds, wirelessly! If we assume that the 18 track Bruce Springsteen album is somewhere between 100MB and 200MB then we're looking at a 10MBps to 20MBps transfer rate. Nokia doesn't admit to what tech it's using, referring to it only as "a new radio technology." It's certainly not NFC which tops out at 424kbps, or Bluetooth 3.0 + HS which tops out at 3MBps. It also negotiates much faster than WiFi (though that could just be editing trickery). It's closer to Wireless USB's real-world data rates of around 15MBps or TransferJet's 375Mbps effective throughput. Or as a long shot, maybe Bluetooth 4.0 which targets 60Mbps (theoretical) transfer rates. Regardless, it's fast so we have to agree with Nokia when it deadpans: "Sounds great. Doesn't. It." Check out the action after the break.

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